Erik ten Hag joins Man United’s Muslim players and staff for an iftar night after his side’s draw at Brentford as the under-fire boss stops for handshakes

 

Erik ten Hag joined a Manchester United iftar night held for the club’s Muslim players and staff members after his side’s 1-1 draw with Brentford at the weekend.

Ten Hag, who appears under increased pressure after the dropped points cut United further adrift of the Champions League spots, was seen stopping for several handshakes as he walked behind a table lined with an assortment of dishes.

A smiling Ten Hag was heard saying ‘Have a good meal’ as he made his way down and seemingly stopped for every individual to share a few words with them.

It is not known exactly when the meal was held but it is thought to have come in the wake of United’s last-gasp setback at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Iftar is the fast-breaking evening meal Muslims observe every day during Ramadan at sunset. It is significant as it is the meal which follows a whole day of fasting.

Erik ten Hag joined an iftar night held for Manchester United players and staff members
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Erik ten Hag joined an iftar night held for Manchester United players and staff members

Ten Hag walked the length of the table
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The manager told guests to 'have a good meal'
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The under-fire coach walked the length of the table and stopped for brief chats

Ten Hag stopped for several handshakes after his side dropped crucial points at Brentford
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Ten Hag stopped for several handshakes after his side dropped crucial points at Brentford

United have numerous Muslim employees, including first-team players Amad Diallo and Sofyan Amrabat, and hosted the meal to allow them to break their fast.

With United eight points behind fifth-placed Tottenham and trailing fourth-placed Aston Villa by 11, the club look likely to miss out on a Champions League place for next season.

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This may not bode well for the under-fire Ten Hag, especially with part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS expected to make sweeping changes at Old Trafford.

According to The Telegraph, billionaire Ratcliffe, who holds a 27 per cent stake in the club, was thoroughly unimpressed by United’s insipid performance at Brentford.

United were second-best but looked to have stolen all three points after Mason Mount fired his first goal in red beyond Mark Flekken. However, Kristoffer Ajer finally netted with Brentford’s 31st effort in the 99th minute to force a share of the spoils.

Ten Hag later took aim at his players’ lack of aggression but insisted he was not concerned with the sheer number of shots his side allows during games.

Kristoffer Ajer's 99th-minute equaliser forced United to settle for a 1-1 draw at the weekend
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Kristoffer Ajer’s 99th-minute equaliser forced United to settle for a 1-1 draw at the weekend

The result means United trail Tottenham by eight points and fourth-placed Aston Villa by 11
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The result means United trail Tottenham by eight points and fourth-placed Aston Villa by 11

‘We didn’t deserve to win,’ Ten Hag said. ‘But if you’re winning you have to take this. I would say normally we are very good in these circumstances.

‘We showed resilience all through the game but in points of aggressiveness Brentford were better. We should show more passion and desire at many moments in the game. When you don’t play well you still have to win and we did it almost.

‘That is my big disappointment, that we didn’t bring it over the line. There was spirit and there was fight but not enough.’

United have conceded a staggering 254 shots in their past 12 games but Ten Hag believes that the worrying statistic is not important if his side grinds out victories.

‘As long as we get results, no,’ he said. ‘We defended low at times and because Brentford are very direct, we lost many second balls. You have to defend the box and that is what we did quite well. The goalkeeper was brilliant – we have to say that.’

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